Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Mighty PWEI versus Gay Byrne

If there’s something we love seeing, it’s when mainstream television plays host to completely unsuitable guests. For example, in the early 1990s Bill Hicks was once a guest on Pebble Mill at One. Bill Hicks! Sadly, there isn’t a clip of that on YouTube, but there is this. Promoting their album Dos Dedos Mes Amigos, Pop Will Eat Itself made an appearance on sedate Irish chat show The Late Late Show.  Carnage ensued:


7 .:

Matthew Rudd said...

The Hicks appearance on Pebble Mill is in my video collection. In it he flirts gently with Judi Spiers, does his smoking spiel and talks about working in a shoe shop. That's it. Inappropriate at face value such an appearance looks, but he was like a lamb and behaved impeccably. The reason it's not on YouTube is probably as much to do with its lack of interest as it is for its lack of availability.

Mark X said...

Bill Hicks appeared on a few US daytime shows too, and he certainly did know how to behave in such situations. But still: Bill Hicks on Pebble Mill at One!

One Hicks appearance in the UK that I'd love to see is from BBC2's post-Newsnight stand-up showcase London Underground (a spinoff from Paradise City), where he appeared alongside Denis Leary (pre-feud) and John Sparkes (as Frank Hovis).

Oh, and while I'm mentioning old TV shows that I'll probably never get to see again, I'd love another chance to see 'Where's Elvis This Week?', a Sunday night BBC2 programme from the mid 90s looking at British attitudes to the USA, hosted by Jon Stewart.

Steve Williams said...

Yes, I remember Where's Elvis This Week, it got Stewart in The Box magazine, and was most memorable for David Baddiel (there were always two British guests and two American guests) slagging off the gun laws, and Stewart saying "Look, you never know when Canada is going to attack".

I remember when they showed Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher on Channel Four for a week when it was filmed in London, but I didn't much like it. Michael Moore was on it being a complete bell-end, I can't remember who he was shouting down - some Tory like Ann Widdicombe or something - but regardless of whether I agreed with their views, Moore's arguments ended up being just "Ner-ner-ner-ner-ner" and he looked a rude idiot.

Matthew Rudd said...

Politically Incorrect in the UK was total arsegravy, despite the best efforts of Richard Littlejohn on the first episode.

Mark X said...

The Box was excellent. And, as I'd scanned it about a year ago, here's Jon Stewart article:

I never took to Politically Incorrect myself (like everyone else over here, it seems), but Bill Maher's Religulous - his documentary on religion - is worth watching.

Michael Moore is similarly difficult to like, though it's worth mentioning his (seemingly little known) UK-centred Channel Four programme Michael Moore Live, from (I think) 1999. It suffered from hugely odd scheduling, with three 'pilot' episodes going out live at around 2am, before moving to a more reasonable 11pm slot for the last three shows of the series. Much of the show was based around phone-ins and live stunts, including one where three actors had pretended to collapse on the streets of New York, London and Montreal - all shown live - to see which nation would help a stricken man first. They all did so pretty much immediately, because it wasn't a very well thought out idea.

The main memory I've got of the show was when a caller from Wales, having misunderstood an earlier comment from Moore to be a dig at the principality, challenged the host to name three places in Wales. Moore came up with the first two without any prompting, then began to flounder ("Cardiff... Swansea... erm... TomJones-Town?"). After more than a little cajoling from the UK members of his crew, Moore finally came up with "er.. what? Wrexh'm? Okay, Wrexham". As a fan of Moore's earlier output living in Wrexham at the time, that was one of my TV highlights of that year. Pity he's gone so rubbish since, really.

Simon said...

I do remember one Michael Moore Live, where he was taking suggestions on how to solve the Irish problem and all the callers had no idea what level of gravitas Moore was working at, leading to some fine moments of dead air. I'm not sure they showed it for long but Paramount brought in a load of such US series for a little while, most notably broad Lake/Springer spoof Night Stand With Dick Dietrich. This would have been around the time they had Letterman, becoming just one of a long line of channels to buy the show, promote the hell out of it for three months, then drop it to 2am and eventually quietly let it go.

While it's not quite in the Hicks league, there used to be a clip on YouTube of Ted Chippington on Pebble Mill stonewalling a clearly unbriefed Paul Coia's line of questioning. And there's that tremendous one of Morrissey chipping in to Coia's music VHS review.

Mark X said...

Night Stand was one of my favourite shows in the mid 1990s, and actually became a favourite amongst my family around 1996 when it was broadcast. My sister was so big a fan, when visiting friends in Scotland she took some episodes of it on VHS to show them. Additionally, when I first stumbled onto the 'Web around that time, one of the very first websites I visited was the Night Stand site, mainly because it was one of the few I actually knew the URL for ("Now you can get Dick on the World Wide Web at!")

Several episodes of NightStand are up on TV Vault at the moment. It's not *quite* as good as I'd remembered it, but still worth a look now.

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